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Doors open on a new café in March run by adults with learning disabilities

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The aromatic smell of coffee brewing around March will be filtering through people’s noses with the launch of a new coffee shop, run by adults with learning disabilities.

March mayor Jan French cuts the ribbon to officially open Hot Pots. (5325508)
March mayor Jan French cuts the ribbon to officially open Hot Pots. (5325508)

Located in March Community Centre, Hot Pots Coffee Shop had its official opening on Wednesday (7) and is the latest addition to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Supporting into Work (SITW) programme.

The shop is run by a group of enthusiastic individuals with learning disabilities, with the support of Employment Skills Workers. The project will provide learners with a training placement where they will be able to learn new skills.

The Hot Pots team. (5325506)
The Hot Pots team. (5325506)

By placing learners in an employment environment, the project aims to build their confidence, preparing them for the world of work and voluntary placements within the local community - which in turn aims to increase their levels of independence and involvement in the community.

This SITW project will work on a three month rolling schedule, voluntary placements will be available for six learners at a time. Towards the end of the period their position will be reviewed and if they have gained all the relevant skills they will be ready to graduate and move on into voluntary and paid work – if not their placement will be extended until they’re ready to transition to community based work placements.

The project also offers learners a chance to gain food hygiene qualifications, provided through the Adult Learning and Skills team.

Referrals to the project can be made by Social Care Services, or people can self-refer.

Offering a range of hot and cold beverages including cappuccinos, lattes, Americanos, tea blends, as well as hot chocolate, the new project will initially open every week on Wednesdays from 10.30am -2.30pm. Homemade cakes made by users of the Day Centre at Tennyson Lodge in March will be on offer, along with access to Free Wi-Fi.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Councillor Anna Bailey, chairman of the adults committee, said: “Our Supporting into Work programme is going from strength to strength, and it’s great to see our family growing with the opening of Hot Pots Coffee Shop.

“I hope the café will be well used by community centre users as well as attracting new people to pop down and try some of the tasty treats on offer."

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